Note: Today marks the second in a four part series on the topic of accountability. The topic of accountability seems to be one that is often repeated in many conversations I have. Therefore, I have chosen to write briefly about the importance of such a subject. To read part one, please click here.
A cultural breakdown in accountability does not need to be the precursor to a church breakdown of the same thing. In a short time, a worldview shift took place that impacted two major areas not only in the Christian mindset, but in the mindset in the secular realm as well. Primarily, accountability has come to be thought of as harsh and painful. The very act of holding a person liable is greatly misused these days. It is no longer a loving act of building a person up but a spiteful act of bringing one down. It should be an opportunity of penance, but is now an operation of punishment, often becoming a hurtful process of vengeance. Therefore, we have not created a society that is fearful of accountability. Secondary, is the issue of responsibility. The definition of responsibility has been transformed from “an obligation that I have to and want to fulfill” to “an obligation that I have to fulfill.” It has shifted from a mentality of desire to a mentality of burden.
Although accountability has been dismissed, it should be our desire to once again demand it. There is great necessity in churches demanding a return to the installation of accountability within the church body, not in the modern-day demarcation of it, but with a flourishing return to what it once was. As a tool to produce a godly reputation. As a means to push for repentance. As an opportunity to promote restoration and reconciliation.
It is true, responsibility is an obligation. God has called His people to a lifestyle of holiness, compelled to keep his commands because of their love for him (Leviticus 11:44-45; 1 Peter 1:16; 1 John 2:3-6). Additionally, Jesus Christ chartered the organization of discipline within the church (Matthew 18:15-20). It was not established in a manner that it would dwindle over the years, but rather, it was setup to endure. It was created with the expectation that the process of accountability would continue on in the church from that point forward.
Although it is an obligation, even more, accountability should be our desire. Ultimately, the love of God is a compelling aspect for the Christian life, or at least should be a compelling aspect (see again 1 John 2:3-6). The love of God instills a heart that seeks the glory of God. As an overarching purpose for life, the love of God then pushes each of us in the pursuit of our own holiness and the holiness of others, constructing right relationships with God and with others. Accountability is a means by which the process of sanctification is instructed and encouraged in a believer’s life.
When accountability becomes the lost function of the people, the people cease to function. Therefore, accountability should be demanded by the people, seeking to restore it as a primary service of the church body.